Singing Praise: The 4 Pieces I Love at Home

Singing Praise: The 4 Pieces I Love at Home

Catrin Morris
Mar 13, 2012

In decorating my home there are four purchases I have never regretted. I recommend them to friends looking for decorating tips. I love everything about them. In each of them form and function coalesce magically: Practical yet beautiful. Stylish yet endlessly adaptable because they will never look outdated (even if I change everything else in my home). Sure, none of these pieces are particularly original. Some are downright trendy right now. And some are certainly investment pieces. But I love them. I covet them.

The Arco lamp by Flos. When you walk into my living room, this lamp is one of the first things you notice. You notice the lamp itself but you also notice what the lamp does to the room: It unifies it by casting an elegant but modern canopy of light and intimacy over the conversation area. And with the tiny little holes around the top of the metal orb, the Arco manages to cast a speckled light above, highlighting the ornamental plasterwork on our ceiling. Designed in the early 1960s by the Castiglioni brothers for Flos, this ingenious floor lamp provides overhead lighting without requiring a ceiling light, which we don't have. The marble base is HEAVY (can you say "White Glove Service"?) marble.
suspension. The Arco is expensive (about $2,700 from Design Within Reach). There is no way around it. And I am very lucky to have such a luxury. This one of our big splurges. An investment piece for sure. But in the back of my mind I knew we would cut back elsewhere (foregoing, for example, tiles for our now-carpeted bathroom floor!). Our living room is quite formal and full of antiques but the Arco proffers a burst of modernity to the room. It is a truly adaptable light that looks good in pretty much any decor. It is a show stopper. It is classic yet dramatic.

The Tulip table. I'm hardly original in owning this (or its knock-off from IKEA) but I love it more every day. It is the iconic tulip table designed in the 1950s by Eero Saarinen. This style is available in many shapes and sizes and materials. I have the basic round model in white laminate (available for $1,800 at many retailers (and used on eBay) including Hive Modern. The Finnish-born Saarinen summed up a big part of the table's visual and functional appeal when he famously said, "The underside of typical chairs and tables makes a confusing, unrestful world...I wanted to clear up the slum of legs." The tulip table is the perfect union of form and function. The design is elegant and simple yet the table is also among the most practical purchases I have ever made: In my small breakfast nook, the white smooth laminate visually opened up the cramped space and the lack of legs means more chairs can fit in the nook. So, while this table is not cheap by any stretch, it was a lot cheaper than the thousands we would have spent to do a bump-out of our kitchen nook (rationalization alert!) On another practical point: the laminate is incredibly durable and stain-resistant. I use regular countertop cleaner to wipe of everything from marker to red wine.

The Petrie Sofa. Sleek and modern yet comfortable, the Petrie sofa from Crate & Barrel is a great choice in any decor. I recommend it to my friends, regardless of their decorating styles. I will admit that it is certainly a 1960s sofa style, which means that isn't timeless, per se. But the Petrie is simple enough to outlast any fickle trend evolution. The tufted and buttoned cushions give the sofa a more formal and tailored look, which makes it appropriate in a formal living room. But it also sits deep and is a great couch for lounging. I love the little tapered skinny legs, too. The Petrie is also relatively inexpensive compared with other similar sofas, costing about $1,700 from Crate & Barrel.

The Parsons Desk from West Elm is a winner. Inexpensive at about $350 from West Elm, this simple little number is just the right size for a small lamp and a computer. Sleek, simple and economical, it suits any decor. And it is so easy to clean! The drawer, which is hardly recognizable because it lacks a knob and is flush against the desk, keeps clutter at bay.

What purchases do you have zero buyer's remorse over? Which pieces do you always recommend to friends?

(Images: as linked above/)

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